Renting An Apartment
Furnished or unfurnished
Furnished apartments are more expensive, but you don't have to buy furniture which saves time when you're starting to settle in. Personally, we preferred for the apartment to have at least these things:
- A Fridge
- A Washing Machine
- A Dryer
It depends on the situation and context, but if you're not living alone and you work from home, it might be a good idea to have a separate room for your office.
If you like biking, it's good to be as close as possible to work and your third place or the city center. Since remote working is possible for me, I prefer not to live more than 30 minutes by bike from the city center.
Landlords don't accept your application if the rent is more than 30% of your gross income.
To get the vibe of the neighborhood:
- Visit the neighborhood
- Wander around by bike or on foot
- Check out neighborhood's shopping center and its shops
- Check out related websites
It's a good idea to look online (specially reddit) for online places to look for apartments. Here are some of them that I found useful:
Funda and Pararius
Funda and Pararius are the most popular websites for searching for apartments. It's good to note that these websites, similar to job postings on LinkedIn, are not the first places that the landlords and real estate agents post their listings. They usually post on their own websites or other private places first. On top of that there's a lot of competition on these websites. So, to get a visit you need to be the first ones to apply or have an agent.
Most of the listings are posted in the morning. So, it's a good idea to check the websites in the beginning of the day.
Property Managers and Building Complexes
Some property managers like holland2stay and building complexes don't list their apartments on Funda or Pararius. They have their own websites and you can apply for their apartments through their websites. Here are some of them.
I haven't found a way to search for these websites directly other than looking up the building's name on Google and see if they have a website, but if you don't have a neighborhood in mind, from a quick search, these sites look promising:
Real Estate Agencies' Websites
Agencies also post some of their listings on their own websites. You can find the agency names from their listings on Funda or Pararius and search for their websites.
You can also find listings on social groups like Facebook groups.
Listing on social groups or listings directly from the landlords has the higher risk of problems in the future since there's no middleman (like a real estate agent) to keep both parties in check.
You can hire an agent to help you in the process of finding and applying for apartments. They usually have access to listings that are not available to the public. They also help you with getting a visit appointment as they have a relationship with other real estate agents. This process costs about the same as one month of rent and some companies offer to pay this as part of the relocation package.
Applying for an Apartment
Letter of Intent
When you apply for an apartment, you usually have to write a letter of intent. This is a letter that you write to the landlord to tell them why you want to rent their apartment. You can get help from ChatGPT to write this letter.
On some high demand markets, by signing the letter of intent, you're agreeing to rent the apartment if the landlord accepts your application. Unfortunately in my experience, there wasn't much responsibility on the landlord's side to respond as fast as possible so it means that you're locked in for a while and you might loose other opportunities.
In the Netherlands, there are three types of contracts (A, B, and C) varying in their duration and flexibility. You can also find more information about it on here. Type C gives more rights to the owner and is usually used for short term rentals. Type B usually has a duration of 2 years and would convert to type A in case of renewal, which means if you have a type B, the landlord would not renew your contract after 2 years. Type A's term is indefinite.
On the day you move in, you need to do a thorough inspection of the apartment (and the furniture in case of a furnished apartment) and take pictures and write down any damages that you find. You need to send this list to the landlord and keep a copy for yourself. If a real estate agent is involved, they will also document this and will send you a copy. This is important because when you move out, the landlord will do an inspection and if they find any damages that are not on the list, they will charge you for it.
Registering Your Move
If this is not the first time you're moving in the Netherlands, you need to register your move with the municipality of your new city. You can do this online on the municipality's website. If this is your first time moving in the Netherlands, you need to register your move in person at the municipality's office. There's more information about first time registration in here.
If your contract doesn't include utilities, you need to get them yourself. You can get multiple utilities from a provider in a bundle package or use one provider for each of them. Depending on the apartment, you might need to get the following utilities:
- Electricity: You can compare different providers on energievergelijk
- Gas: easyswitch is a good place to compare different providers.
- Water: Usually there's only one provider for water in your city. Waternet is the provider for Amsterdam.
- District Heating: I don't have any experience with this, but AFAIK you only can get district heating from vattenfall.
Taxes and Levies
You need to pay the following taxes and levies:
- Municipal Taxes: You need to pay municipal taxes for garbage collection and sewage. Your municipality will send you a letter with the amount you need to pay and the payment details.
- Water Board Tax: You need to pay water board tax for water management. You'll receive a letter from the water board with the amount you need to pay and the payment details.
When you're co-signing a contract with your roommate, you're creating a union with them. This means that you're both responsible for the contract and you both have the same rights.
If either you or your roommate wants to move out, you can put your agreement on breaking the union in writing without the need to involve the landlord in this decision.
To add roommates, you either need to have a contract that allows you to sublet, or you need to sign a new contract with the landlord.